Egypt: Authorities confiscate land belonging to monastery

June 6, 2021

As this article illustrates, Christians in Egypt frequently encounter opposition from government officials as well as from local non-Christians, as is the pattern in so many other countries as well.

There are around 300,000 Greek Orthodox Christians in Egypt; like our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters, they suffer sporadic persecution, discrimination, and harassment, as well as official obstacles to the building of churches and legal harassment of the kind outlined below.

We remain in prayer for all the Christians in Egypt as their difficulties continue.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Egypt, see here.

“Egypt: Authorities confiscate land belonging to monastery,” Independent Catholic News, June 4, 2021:

Local authorities confiscated land belonging to the Saint Macarius Monastery in Wadi Al-Rayyan, Al-Fayyoum Governorate, Egypt, on 30 May. Officials, supported by the police force, used bulldozers to demolish the fence and other constructions that had been erected by the monks who live there. A number of monks, who protested and tried to stop the operation, were arrested and released shortly afterwards.

Saint Macarius Monastery was founded in 360 AD. In 2017, the Ministry of Environment granted the monks the right to use the land on which the monastery stood and the surrounding area. It was agreed that they would pay 500,000 Egyptian pounds (approximately 22,500 GBP) per year for 3,000 acres of land, surrounded by a fence. It was also agreed that they would pay 4 million Egyptian pounds (approximately 180,000 GBP) per year for a further 1,000 acres of the land outside the fenced area, but since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic the monastery has failed to pay the rent, prompting the authorities to confiscate the land.

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “Whilst we recognise the right of the government to collect the agreed taxes, we also recognise that the monastery has been on this site for centuries and the rental levies are a relatively recent expense in its historic existence. We encourage all parties to engage in a process of negotiation to ensure a just settlement in this matter, including a reappraisal of the rent that the monastery is required to pay, which is a considerable financial burden even outside the unusual circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic that has negatively impacted livelihoods in Egypt and across the world.”…